NYSE unswayed by Nasdaq bid

NYSE Euronext (NYX.N) believes that any kind of merger with Nasdaq OMX (NDAQ.O) — whether the Big Board were the buyer or the seller — makes little strategic sense, and antitrust regulators would block it, according to a source close to the company.

Bringing the top two U.S. stock exchanges together would face “insurmountable antitrust problems,” the source said on Wednesday, suggesting NYSE’s board could look beyond the premium Nasdaq has offered and reject Nasdaq’s bid outright.

The focus on monopolies shows just how tricky it will be for the world’s top exchange operators to pull off a rash of planned tie-ups that would revamp capital markets in North America, Europe and Asia. Just this week, Australia moved to block a buyout of its bourse by Singapore Exchange.

Last week, Nasdaq and IntercontinentalExchange (ICE.N) complicated the web of merger plans with a $11.3 billion bid for NYSE Euronext, topping a friendly $10.2 billion offer made by Germany’s Deutsche Boerse (DBIGn.DE).